Beauty at home...
February 13, 2012 10:04 AM   Subscribe

Does laser hair removal at home work? There's this Groupon that miiiight be worth it, but I also don't want to waste 200 bucks.

This product (800 NM diode laser hair remover ) is on Groupon today, and if it works, it's a really good deal. It's the same price as going to the salon a few times. But does anyone know if it works? I couldn't find anything except advertising on a google search, and I'd rather spend $200 at the salon, where I know I'll get a result, than on a product that may or may not work.
posted by DoubleLune to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I just saw this and my internal skeptic was raised. I wasn't able to find any reviews of the product, and the website that it was offered by has only been around for two months. I emailed Groupon about what recourse consumers have if this product does not work and am waiting on a response.
posted by amicamentis at 10:08 AM on February 13, 2012

Best answer: Okay, so I spent a full weekend researching these things last month. I can't speak to the one you've linked to, but I'll share what I learned on the ones I narrowed it down to. The ones that have the best results according to reviews (and once you filter out all of the spam sites) seem to be the Silk'n SenseEpil and the Tria. The Silk'n has replaceable cartridges that are expensive but effective and the Tria reportedly has longer-lasting results but has a limited number of "pulses" and is effectively disposable.

After many many hours of trying to figure it out, I ended up buying the Silk'n (but it was a super-close call between the two). They have a payment plan so that the full amount doesn't have to hit your credit card all at once, and the device has 5 settings (low to high). I bought it with three extra cartridges for $500 including shipping. Their customer service when I phoned was awesome.

Tonight will be my 3rd treatment. First one I did at level one, second I did at level 4 because I'm impatient. Tonight I'll do level five. Already seeing excellent results on my lower legs, slight results on bikini line, and not much yet for the underarms (apparently the most resistant area). But keep in mind that even laser removal in the clinic isn't permanent, and some hair will come back after 6 months or so. A lot of people who reviewed the Silk'n said that one cartridge wasn't enough for one full treatment but I've actually done two full treatments with the first one. You have to do repeated treatments because hair follicles go through a 3-phase cycle and only in the growing stage of each hair can it be "killed" off.

These types of devices work best on people with lighter skin and darker hair as they target the dark follicles, and it's the contrast that keeps it from burning your skin.

The answer is yes, they do work, but not for everyone (depends on skin tone) and they're not exactly permanent but you can keep treating every couple of months or even six months for long lasting results. I wouldn't buy the Groupon one simply because it has no history or reviews, though. Like I said, the Tria had excellent reviews too but if you want to know more about the Silk'n let me know!
posted by mireille at 11:05 AM on February 13, 2012 [9 favorites]

But keep in mind that even laser removal in the clinic isn't permanent, and some hair will come back after 6 months or so.

Seconding that. I paid beaucoup money for professional laser hair removal, and pretty much ALL of it eventually came back, even though it had been sold to me as permanent hair removal. I ended up getting electrolysis--even more expensive, and time-consuming, but it actually DID remove the hair permanently.
posted by parrot_person at 12:08 PM on February 13, 2012

The at-home stuff scares me, so I had four IPS sessions more than a year ago at my regular hair salon at $50 a pop (reduced recession rates!). The woman who did it was a nurse, which helped my trust levels. It stings a bit but not much (I had my neck area done so I can wear very short hair).

I am a really good candidate for it (dark hair/fair skin). I have had very little recurrence; it's one of the best things I've ever done for myself in terms of money spent for looks maintenance.
posted by Currer Belfry at 1:20 PM on February 13, 2012

I've got very fair skin and very dark hair as well, fwiw.
posted by parrot_person at 9:53 PM on February 13, 2012

Quackwatch's section on Laser Hair Methods would be a useful preliminary read. Also the Home Laser Hair section on Hairfacts. You will notice that on the latter site they council you to use FDA approved devices - but add that, in their opinion, none of them work as claimed.

The basic problem would appear to be a lack of an effective performance standard with these devices.
posted by rongorongo at 11:58 PM on February 13, 2012

I'm rather curious about this too. I have a couple friends who tried this out and the hair came back, but then again, they were darker in complexion (Pakistani and African American). And the whole process twice as long. Apparently, you need a stronger laser for darker pigmentation. Both of them gave up with the at-home treatments and ended up going to the salon and getting it done there. Now they don't have the hair, but I'm not sure if it's a combination of doing it at home AND the salon treatments.
posted by baconandvodka at 7:31 AM on February 14, 2012

This is what Paula Begoun had to say:

At-Home Lasers
It may shock you (both literally and figuratively) to learn that the exact same lasers a salon or doctor's office may use for hair removal are available for you to buy and do it yourself at home. For example, the TRIA is an 810 nanometer diode laser system with research showing it can reduce hair growth. It is tricky to use and the instructions must be followed exactly or the machine won't produce even minor results, but it is absolutely an option to consider.

posted by Salamandrous at 4:24 PM on February 14, 2012

Best answer: That Groupon looks just like the Xemos w-808, doesn't it?

And apparently the Xemos didn't work. The at-home laser hair removal lasers aren't as strong as the ones in doctors' offices, supposedly none of them (including Silk'n SenseEpil and Tria) lead to permanent hair removal. The wavelength might be right, but the laser's fluence is insufficient. Or so this thread convinced me:

Groupon canceled all the orders, sending out emails saying they weren't FDA-approved, and that everybody who ordered them would get their money back.

I almost fell for it! Wishful thinking.
posted by RebeccaJ at 8:39 PM on February 28, 2012

Response by poster: Groupon canceled all the orders, sending out emails saying they weren't FDA-approved

Interesting... glad I didn't go for it. Weird that they wouldn't verify it in some way before putting the groupon up. Seems like pretty bad PR there.
posted by DoubleLune at 8:51 PM on February 28, 2012

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